9 January

Balancing Life, Student Nursing and Roller Derby

My first year at university was a terrifying time especially with someone who has a severe lack of confidence and used to a strong family input. In my first year, the Quidditch Society of the university kept me sane juggling assignments and home life but I soon discovered how much of my daylight hours were swallowed up.

As a student nurse I don’t have a lot free time. I am more often than not on placement where I work full nursing shifts so being on the ward from 7am to 7:30pm, assignments and my dissertation see me in the library more often than my own bed and often travelling back to the parents to help out back home.

So in my second year I googled away and found an activity that I can, sort of, manage and I love it!! Roller derby has quite simply taken over my life! Trying to make training (yes my attendance needs to improve), going to the gym, going to bouts (if finances allow) or watching bouts online (far more interesting than catheter design research – for my 16,000 word dissertation). I also have started to work on charity, trying to organise events to support those that may need it.  My attendance my not be great at the moment, primarily due to having to move back home and therefore away from my team, but I am working on it for next summer.

At university I find it hard to put onto paper what I mean. I am normally a poorly organised person, sticky notes and friends keep me in line. I am also not the best on walking on flat ground, quite often tripping over my own feet and head butting walls whilst on placement.  University has always emphasised transferrable skills; organisation, team work, communication skills, leadership and yep time management.  Since starting roller derby I have improved these and developed much more than what is taught at university. I have become more determined and slowly developing a thick skin which is desperately needed within healthcare. Roller derby has also become a positive de-stresser; in first year I would hide in my Hall’s room and sit and cross-stitch I now go to practice which is slowly stopping me from being the isolated person I used to be.

I was never one for exercise I found that when I was at school sport was all about who you knew. Finding a sport I love means that running or exercise in general is no longer a chore meaning that my fitness has improved alongside my stamina and agility. This has a massive impact on my future as when I qualify in 2015 as a registered nurse I hope to get into the Royal Navy. The combined three years of roller derby and four years of university I hope will make me a better nurse and hopefully (fingers crossed) a better military nurse.  Who knows maybe I could have enough experience to set up a Naval Roller Derby team or even know enough people to help me as one thing I do know is that I could never turn my back on a sport I love so much.

Written by Hannabal Lestrange